- City-friendly size
- Handsome, if forgettable
- Good value even at top trim
- More efficient new engine
- No hatchback version
- Base trims lack safety features
- Rough acceleration noise
- Un-fun driving dynamics
The 2020 Hyundai Accent is about as basic as new cars get, and that’s where its appeal lies.
The 2020 Hyundai Accent is… a new car. This subcompact sedan is about as basic as new cars get, and that’s where its appeal lies. We give the smallest Hyundai 5.2 out of 10 overall for its commitment to the basics. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
For 2020, the Accent gets a revised powertrain that results in a 4-mpg improvement on most trims, thanks to a tweaked inline-4 engine and a new continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Other than that, the 2020 Accent is exactly the same as last year’s model.
With good standard features, acceptable performance, and a surprising amount of interior space, the Accent is a comfortable and capable way to get a factory warranty.
Available in SE, SEL, or Limited trims, the Accent adopts the Hyundai family face with style, thanks to LED headlights and 17-inch wheels on the Limited trim. Base models look down-market with halogen lamps and plastic wheel covers, but the Accent wears the styling of a bigger car well for a subcompact. The interior is comparatively reserved, and conspicuously free of buttons and dials. You want basic? You got it.
A new 1.6-liter inline-4 replaces the old 1.6-liter inline-4, but the updated version gets a big bump in efficiency thanks to some engineering tweaks to manage heat and fuel injection better. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard, while the new CVT replaces the outgoing 6-speed automatic option. The Accent is no canyon-carver, but does absorb most road imperfections with ease, though the short wheelbase can make speed bumps seem bigger than they are.
Four adults can fit comfortably in the Accent, which boasts decent legroom and above-average headroom for the segment. The seats are hardly bolstered, however, and with small rear doors, entry and exit is ungraceful. Fold-down rear seats increase the Accent’s already ample trunk space exponentially.
While updated figures aren’t available and the federal government has yet to test it, the Accent was a 2019 Top Safety Pick award recipient from the IIHS, and offers automatic emergency braking and other safety features on the top-tier Limited trim, making it the only Accent version we can recommend.
At the top end of the range, the Limited comes standard with heated seats, LED headlights, 17-inch wheels, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
2020 Hyundai Accent
The 2020 Hyundai Accent nails anonymity.
The 2020 Hyundai Accent adopts the brand’s current styling language handsomely, but does so in a forgettable way. We give it 5 out of 10 for looks. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
In terms of styling cues, the Accent checks all of Hyundai’s boxes. A curved trapezoidal grille with horizontal slats, LED headlights on the top trim, handsome alloy wheels, and taillights with three boomerang-shaped lights are wrapped in a slightly curvy but unremarkable package. Other, more expensive Hyundais have adopted comparatively gregarious styling, but the Accent makes no effort to hide its humble roots.
The interior is even more prosaic, with a cabin that could be anywhere from 2 to 10 years old if you’ve been in a recent Hyundai. Controls and gauges are divided and placed logically where you’d expect to find them, but due to its inexpensive nature, the Accent is conspicuously light on buttons and dials. Most versions come with a puny 5.0-inch touchscreen, while the Limited model gets a much better 7.0-inch screen front and center.
2020 Hyundai Accent
The 2020 Hyundai Accent gets a much-needed bump in efficiency at the expense of power, but ride and handling are only average.
The 2020 Hyundai Accent gets a revised powertrain for a much-needed boost in efficiency without a significant drop in performance. We give it 3 out of 10 here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
A lackluster 1.6-liter inline-4 from last year is replaced by… a 1.6-liter inline-4, but this time with efficiency-minded improvements that add up to a 4-mpg boost. Power drops by 10 horsepower and 6 pound-feet of torque to 120 hp and 113 lb-ft but is likely to be unnoticeable. A 6-speed manual transmission comes standard, while the outgoing 6-speed automatic is replaced by a more efficient CVT as the option. All Accents come exclusively with front-wheel-drive.
At just 2,500 pounds, the Accent’s lightweight stature makes such a small engine adequate, though acceleration is sluggish, and the engine note is raspy when pushed hard, and not in a good way. Ride quality is adequate even on 17-inch wheels, though large bumps upset the Accent’s small wheelbase.
Steering and handling, however, are comparatively lifeless, with hardly any feel through the wheel and no playful driving dynamics to speak of. Many subcompacts are significantly more fun to drive despite their price points.
2020 Hyundai Accent
Comfort & Quality
Subcompact crossover who? The 2020 Hyundai Accent is a sedan that fits four adults and plenty of cargo comfortably.
The 2020 Hyundai Accent is comfortable for four adults and has a decent amount of storage space. That’s all you need to know for this entry-level sedan, and worth 5 out of 10 points here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Head room is impressive for front and rear occupants thanks to the Accent’s bubble-shaped roofline, and height-adjustable seats make this subcompact comfortable for even 6-plus-foot drivers and passengers. The SEL and Limited trim also get a tilt/telescope steering wheel, and all Accents get handy storage for all sorts of items such as smartphones and even large water bottles.
The trunk is larger than that in a Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe, an impressive feat for such a small car, and with folding rear seats, the Accent can easily fit 6-foot-long parcels if need be.
Rear seat space is ample when the bench is in place, but small rear door openings require awkward entry and exit for adults.
Hard plastics and cheap cloth abound on base models, and while more bolstering could certainly make for more comfortable seats, the Accent is well-built for how inexpensive it is. A raspy engine note is noticeable on hard acceleration, but otherwise the cabin is a quiet experience.
2020 Hyundai Accent
The 2020 Hyundai Accent is safe for such a small car, provided you buy the Limited model for its automatic braking.
The 2020 Hyundai Accents lacks full crash-test data, but that which is available is promising for such a small car in an SUV’s world. Facts are facts, America—and we’ll hold off on a score until we see some. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
While 2020 numbers aren’t available, the Accent hasn’t changed significantly since last year, so it’s safe to assume similar crash test results for this year. While the federal government hasn’t gotten around to it, the IIHS, gave the Accent a Top Safety Pick award in 2019, awarding “Good” ratings in every category except passenger-side front overlap and headlights, in which it scored “Acceptable.”
Automatic emergency braking is available (though other safety features are not), but only as standard on the Limited trim model, so skip the lower Accents and stick with the top.
2020 Hyundai Accent
The 2020 Hyundai Accent is well-equipped, but only if you pay for the top-tier Limited trim.
As is the brand’s reputation, the 2020 Hyundai Accent is well-equipped in any form, but the most expensive model is where the best value lies. We give it 6 out of 10 for features, with points for its warranty and value, and a point taken back for a small infotainment screen and no automatic emergency braking on the base model. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The base 2020 Accent gets a 6-speed manual transmission, cloth upholstery, power features, keyless entry, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, folding rear seats, Bluetooth connectivity, dual USB ports, a small 5.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with four speakers, cruise control, and air conditioning. For about $16,000, the Accent’s 5-year, 60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty is what makes it worth the cost of entry.
SEL models add automatic headlights, telescoping steering, a much-improved 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and six speakers, but the top-tier Limited is the best value at under $20,000. It includes automatic emergency braking, LED taillights, keyless ignition, a hands-free trunk opener, heated front seats, a sunroof, and 17-inch alloy wheels. It’s the only model we’d choose despite its slightly higher price.
A new automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) costs $1,000 more than the manual on the base SE model, and is standard on SEL and Limited.
2020 Hyundai Accent
The 2020 Hyundai Accent is more efficient by 4 mpg for this year, making it more competitive with rivals.
The 2020 Hyundai Accent is much more efficient this year thanks to a new engine and transmission, so we’ve improved its score to 7 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
An updated 1.6-liter inline-4 with dual-port injection and heat management improvements as well as a thrifty CVT improves overall fuel economy for the Accent, which was one of its letdowns last year.
According to the EPA, base manual-equipped models get 29 mpg city, 39 highway, 33 combined, while CVT models get 33/41/36 mpg, an improvement of about 4 mpg overall from last year. That’s a significant difference, and makes the Accent more competitive with other subcompacts in its class, though it comes at the expense of 10 horsepower.